Start out by tackling your guest list and invitations. Who are you going to invite to this party anyway? Determine if it will be a group of family members or perhaps a few close friends. Alternatively, maybe it’s a year for going big and inviting a huge crowd.
Get those invitations out with time to spare
Give people a heads up in advance of the Superbowl date so they can make plans to attend. Since a formal invitation that reads, “We request the pleasure of your company…” sounds a bit stuffy for the occasion we suggest you opt for something more casual.
Of course, you could send print invitations (on football-themed cards). However, depending on the how structured the event is and who you’re inviting, you may choose to send a simple email with the details. Or even a text message saying, “You’re invited to join us.”
Be clear about what’s going on
When it comes to communication, just be sure to let prospective guests know what’s expected. If everyone should bring a side dish or finger food, remember to say so. On the other hand, if you’re serving a full meal before the game starts, let people know you’re planning for more than game-time grazing. Also, be open about what time people can start arriving.
Mastermind the menu (and setup)
Obviously, you’ll want to share food with your guests, although what you share will vary. From pizza and wings to finger foods, do what seems most likely to please guests and keep the hosting manageable.
Remember that you may be able to cook some items ahead and keep them toasty-warm in a slow cooker. And if you don’t have enough slow cookers to make this happen, consider borrowing one (even from a guest who can take it back home at the end of the night). A warming tray may also be a useful option.
Finger foods could be buffalo hot wings or cocktail sausages (with toothpicks for less-messy eating). To help guest get their fruits and veggies in, add personal-sized veggie portions and some grape clusters. Leave the grapes on the vine in small clusters–scissors can help you snip them into the appropriate-sized bunches.
Now, setup will depend on your home. You know it better than we do, so start thinking about the optimal way to present the game and give people comfortable seating to watch it. Obviously, a 500-square-foot mobile home will be different than a 2,000-square-foot one with an open floor plan.
For food, kitchen islands are a great place to lay out a spread. And other kitchen countertops can work, too. Also, your dining room table is an option if you’re not having a sit-down meal. You could even remove the chairs and push the table up against a wall so you have more space but the food is still accessible.
Shoot for easy access
If snacks will need to be in an area separate from the TV, try to set things up so people can head to the food table without walking directly in front of the TV. In other words, don’t make it impossible for your guest to get seconds without blocking everyone else’s view of the game. Keeping the food close to the area where everyone’s watching could be a plus if you’ll be eating and viewing simultaneously.
And if you need to squeeze more items on the serving table, consider raising some of the serving dishes (on top of an upside down bowl, for instance). Just make sure they’re stable so you don’t end up cleaning the food off your festive table cloth after a spill.
Where to watch
The living room is likely prime space. However, if you have an open floor plan, set up the TV so it can be seen by those in the kitchen and dining room as well. Of course, seating is important unless you want to stand through an entire game. If you don’t have enough couches and armchairs for your party, supplement with large pillows, beanbag chairs, and even folding chairs (or chairs snagged from the dining room table).
Delight with decor
Your decor can depend on your own allegiances and style. Toothpicks with cutouts or stickers on top (footballs, jerseys, numbers, etc.) could add some festivity and convenience to your spread of finger-foods. For tablecloths, napkins, cups, and plates, go with the colors of the team you’re rooting for. Plus, football balloons or balloons in team colors could definitely up the air of festivity.
When it comes time to sweep away the post-game chaos, if guests offer to help, go ahead and accept. Survey the scene and get an idea of what needs to be done.
Someone could collect used disposable plates and cups and ditch them. Another guest could be in charge of sticking leftovers in bags and containers. Somebody else can load the dishwasher and get started on dishes. Then, be sure to give a special thank you to guests who stayed behind and helped you get your home back to normal.
Collect best practices for next time
Once you’ve cheered your team on to victory (or, unfortunately, mourned their defeat), take some time to make mental notes for future parties. What parts of your setup worked well and what could have been improved? Does any of the food stand out as a dish to make at your next get-together? If so, be sure to save the recipe. Plus, gather more thoughts about hosting and entertaining in your mobile home.